You might think that your Mac is invulnerable to viruses and other security threats, but you might want to think again. As part of its commitment to intelligence sharing and collaboration, Microsoft recently exposed the evolution of a MacOS Trojan that can stealthily lift your personal data.
First spotted in September 2020, Microsoft says this piece of malware, known as UpdateAgent, has increasingly progressed to “sophisticated capabilities.” Though it also indicated that the latest two versions are still more “refined,” Microsoft does warn that the malware is again being developed, and more updates could come soon.
It is so bad, that Microsoft believes this malware can be leveraged to fetch more dangerous payloads beyond just the adware that it is already injecting into victim machines.
But how does it work? Per Microsoft, the UpdateAgent malware can impersonate real software, and then take Mac functionalities under its own control. It is usually first installed to victim Macs by automated downloads without a user’s consent, or advertisement pop-ups, which impersonate video applications and support agents. UpdateAgent can even bypass Gatekeeper, which usually makes sure that only trusted apps can run on Macs. The Malware then takes over a machine and performs malicious acts like injecting adware.
Microsoft worked with Amazon Web Services to pull the URLs used by UpdateAgent to inject adware, but the UpdateAgent campaign has steadily evolved. It went from basic information stealer in December 2020, to the ability to fetch and deliver .DMG files in February 2021, to being able to fetch and deliver .ZIP files in March 2021.
Later in August, the malware expanded its reconnaissance function to scan and collect System_profile and SPHardwaretype information from victim machines. At its worst point in August, the malware even used permissions and wrote its own code to trick Gatekeeper into thinking it’s not even there.
“UpdateAgent is uniquely characterized by its gradual upgrading of persistence techniques, a key feature that indicates this trojan will likely continue to use more sophisticated techniques in future campaigns,” Microsoft said Microsoft.
Microsoft wasn’t clear which versions of MacOS are impacted by UpdateAgent, but it did have some advice that goes beyond using antivirus software. It pointed to using the Microsoft Edge browser, which can block and scan for malicious websites. Other tips include restricting access to privileged resources, installing apps only from the app store, and running the latest versions of MacOS and other applications.
Apple brought a slew of new features with MacOS Monterey, including updates to Safari and the option to use Shortcuts. Another convenient feature is the ability to use Quick Note with the Notes app.
First introduced with iPadOS 15, Quick Note lets you capture a note while using any app on your Mac. Not only that, but you can start a new note with a keyboard shortcut or Hot Corner and easily save links and create persistent highlights when you use Safari.
How to create a Quick Note
You have a couple of easy ways to create a new Quick Note while performing any task on your Mac.
Option 1: Use the keyboard shortcut Fn + Q. This opens a blank note ready for your thoughts or ideas.
Option 2: Move your cursor to a Hot Corner. If you don’t have a shortcut set up for your lower-right Hot Corner, one will be added for Quick Note when you upgrade to MacOS Monterey.
To check or change the location, go to System preferences > Desktop and screen saver > Hot corners.
When the Quick Note appears using either of the above actions, you can move it wherever you like on your screen. You can also resize it by dragging in or out from a corner or edge.
Of course, you can also create a Quick Note directly in the Notes app if you like. Select Quick note on the left and choose the Create a new note button in the toolbar.
How to save a link in Safari to a Quick Note
When you use Safari, you can easily create a Quick Note there as well. This is handy if you want to save the website or page you’re visiting.
To save a link to the site, select the Share button in the toolbar and pick New quick note or Add to quick note. This saves a link to the site with the page or article name.
How to save content in Safari to a Quick Note
Another great feature for Safari is that you can highlight and save content to a Quick Note. This creates a persistent highlight so that when you revisit the site, the text will remain highlighted for you.
Step 1: Select the content on the page you want to save by dragging your cursor across it.
Step 2: Right-click and select New quick note or Add to quick note.
Step 3: The note will display the text you selected in a quote and a link to the web page.
When you revisit the page, you’ll see a thumbnail of the Quick Note pop up, and the selected text will still be highlighted.
How to always use your last Quick Note
One feature of Quick Note you may want to adjust is to always resume the last note. For instance, if you have a note with websites for research, you can continue to add to that same Quick Note rather than create a new one each time.
Step 1: Open the Notes app.
Step 2: Go to Notes > Preferences from the menu bar.
Step 3: Check the box for Resume last quick note.
If you change your mind later, head back to this same spot and uncheck the box. You’ll then see a new Quick Note each time.
How to view your Quick Notes
All Quick Notes you create are available in the Notes app. Select Quick notes on the left, and you’ll see your notes on the right. If you sync the Notes app with your iPhone or iPad, you’ll see them in the same spot on those devices as well.
You can edit, delete, add images, and insert tables in a Quick Note just like any other note.
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Apple’s newest desktop operating system, MacOS Monterey, brings a handful of useful new features, but an assortment of issues as well. Some people are reporting memory leaks after upgrading to MacOS Monterey — some of which have even included warnings that the entire system has run out of memory.
While new operating system rollouts tend to have a few bugs, this one seems particularly bothersome. Memory leaks occur when an application uses more memory, or RAM, than is necessary. This happens because the process in question doesn’t release the memory that’s allocated to it after it’s closed and continues to use more memory, sometimes until there’s none left.
There have been a number of complaints across multiple forums, including Apple’s own support forums, Reddit, and Twitter. YouTuber Gregory McFadden tweeted a picture in which Control Center was using a whopping 26GB of RAM. By comparison, Final Cut Pro was only using 6GB of RAM, and that’s a full-fledged professional video editing program. Control Center normally only uses a couple of megabytes of RAM.
The issue doesn’t seem to be limited to a particular Mac model either. Users with M1, M1 Pro/Max, and Intel versions have all reported memory leaks. One Firefox user with an Intel Mac reported Firefox usage of almost 80GB of RAM. While some users like Gregory McFadden had upwards of 64GB of RAM installed, a lot of others will likely have much lower RAM and will feel the pinch of a memory leak more acutely.
This isn’t the only major issue with MacOS Monterey. Those with older Macs who install the new operating system are at risk of bricking their computer. Many of the users reported Macs that simply wouldn’t turn on at all after upgrading. While there does seem to be a temporary fix, that requires access to another Mac.
Lest the Windows faithful get cocky, Windows 11 users have also reported memory issues. Windows Insiders found that File Explorer consumes memory even after being closed. We were able to reproduce the leak on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. Fortunately, it seems this is limited to just the File Explorer and not random programs like MacOS’ issue.
Regardless, the memory leak on MacOS Monterey could just be the teething signs of a new operating system. Apple will hopefully issue a patch to fix the leak, although MacOS memory leaks seem to be a common occurrence. At any rate, it may be worth holding off upgrading your Mac for now.
MacOS Monterey is here. Apple’s latest Mac operating system has finally been released with a bunch of great new features for your computer. Want to install it on your Mac? You’re in the right place, as we’ll take you through the necessary steps to get MacOS Monterey onto your Apple computer.
Just follow the steps below and you’ll be good to go.
Step 1: Check compatibility and back up
Not every Mac will be able to install MacOS Monterey. Check your Mac against the following list of devices that Apple says can run MacOS Monterey:
Back in System Preferences, make sure the Back Up Automatically checkbox is also ticked so your Mac will handle backups for you in the future.
When the backup has finished, continue to step 2.
Step 2: Open About This Mac or System Preferences
There are two ways to find the MacOS Monterey update on your Mac. The first method is to click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your Mac’s screen, then click About This Mac. From there, make sure you are on the Overview tab, then click Software Update.
Alternatively, open System Preferences and click Software Update.
Step 3: Download and install the update
Your Mac will now check to see if it has the latest updates. If you are not already on MacOS Monterey, an update will appear giving you the opportunity to update. When you are ready, click Upgrade Now.
Your Mac will begin downloading the update. When it is finished, you will be prompted to restart your Mac so that the update can install. Click Restart Now.
Your Mac will restart and begin installing MacOS Monterey. This can take a little while, and your Mac might restart a couple times during the process.
Step 4: Successful installation
When the installation process has finished, your Mac will load into your login screen. MacOS Monterey has now been installed!
Apple has launched the latest version of its Mac operating system, MacOS Monterey. First announced at WWDC 2021, the software has been in beta since the summer and is finally ready for release. Ready to run it? Here’s how to install MacOS Monterey.
It brings a slate of great new features to the Mac. You can copy and highlight text directly from photos using Live Text and create custom Do Not Disturb modes with various settings using Focus mode — two features that are also on iOS 15.
AirPlay and Shortcuts, longtime stalwarts on iOS, are now on the Mac for the first time. And Apple has introduced iCloud+, which adds premium features like email masking and iCloud Private Relay for no additional cost to existing iCloud paid plan subscribers.
Then there’s Shared with You, which adds a new section to apps like Photos, News, and Podcasts, showing relevant content that has been shared with you in the Messages app. You will see pictures and videos sent over Messages in the Photos app, for instance, and shared movies and shows in the TV app.
However, not everything Apple showed off at WWDC has made it into the final release, and the company has said a few headline features will be coming “later this fall.” Among the omissions is Universal Control, which lets you control a Mac and an iPad using a single keyboard and mouse. Place the devices next to each other and when your mouse pointer reaches the edge of one display, it can “jump” across to the other device. You can even use it to quickly move files from one platform to another. It could be Monterey’s best feature, but evidently is not yet ready for prime time.
Aside from Universal Control, another feature that is currently absent is SharePlay. This is aimed at FaceTime group calls, and allows participants to all watch the same content together. For example, you might want to share the latest episode of an Apple TV+ show and have a watch party with your friends while on a FaceTime call. SharePlay lets you do that — or rather, it will once it launches later this fall.
Apple says MacOS Monterey will run on the following devices:
MacBook Air (early 2015 or later)
MacBook Pro (early 2015 or later)
12-inch MacBook (early 2016 or later)
iMac (late 2015 or later)
iMac Pro (2017 or later)
Mac mini (late 2014 or later)
Mac Pro (late 2013 or later)
Some features, like Live Text and background blurring in FaceTime, will be exclusive to Apple Silicon Macs and unavailable on Intel-based machines.
If your Mac will run MacOS Monterey and you want to get started, we’ve put together an easy guide on how to install MacOS Monterey on your Apple computer.
In a press release for the new AirPods following the end of the Apple Unleashed event, Apple announced a release date for MacOS Monterey. The new operating system is set to come next week, as the follow-up to 2020’s MacOS Big Sur release, and brings several big enhancements centered around productivity.
Although Apple didn’t provide a solid launch date, the timing means MacOS Monterey should be expected at the latest by October 30. Apple’s release specifically mentioned that the Airpods 3 only work with Apple devices running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, WatchOS 8.1, tvOS 15.1, or MacOS Monterey.
Coming as a free update for most Macs, the big feature for most people in this release is Universal Control, which lets you use a single mouse and keyboard to control multiple MacOS and iPad devices. The new feature is separate from Sidecar, which lets iPad users leverage the tablet as a second display for your Mac.
If you’re on MacOS Big Sur, you can check to see if MacOS Monterey is ready for your device by heading to the Apple Menu and choosing System Preferences. You’ll then want to choose About This Mac. From there, you should see Software Update. Click this, and if your Mac is eligible, you’ll see MacOS Monterey listed here and can proceed by hitting the Upgrade Now button.
Other features include AirPlay to Mac, which lets you cast your audio or video from an iPhone or an iPad to a Mac without extra software or servers. Rounding out the list of features in Monterey is a new tab design in Safari, enhanced Shortcuts, a new Focus mode, and support for SharePlay.
Some of the new features in Monterey will be exclusive to Apple M1 Mac models. This includes the portrait mode improvements to FaceTime, which blur the background behind you. Also included is Live Text, which pulls text and phone numbers from Photos. Finally, on Intel Macs, you won’t be able to use the new globe view option or see the expanded details in cities like New York or Los Angeles. This is due to the fact that Intel Macs don’t have the neural engine featured on the Apple M1 chip.
MacOS Monterey was originally announced at WWDC 2021 in June. Since then, the OS was in beta testing through the Apple Developer Program. Members of the general public also were beta testing the OS through the Apple Beta Software Program.
Apple’s Shortcuts app has been on iOS for years, but in MacOS Monterey, it finally makes its way to the company’s computers. This powerful app is right at home on the Mac, as it lets you simplify complex tasks and run powerful operations with just a click — or even with your voice.
Today, we are going to show you everything you need to know to create and use effective shortcuts on your Mac. Download the MacOS Monterey public beta, open the Shortcuts app, and follow our instructions to start automating tasks that will make your life a little easier.
How to create your first shortcut
The Shortcuts app contains a range of pre-made shortcuts ready to be used. Many of these are excellent tools, but you might want to make your own shortcut and tailor it to your needs. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Add components to the canvas
In Shortcuts’ Top Menu, click the Plus button. This opens the shortcut creator window. We will choose the components that make up a shortcut from the menu on the right. You can find components sorted into categories or look for one associated with a particular app. Above these options is a search box.
Some shortcut components offer customizable options. The Find Photos one, for instance, lets you add filters, sort the results, and limit them to a defined number.
Click Add Filter. This adds the phrase “Album is Recents” to the component. Notice that each word is highlighted in blue — this means it is a variable that can be changed. Click Recents, and a pop-up window appears. In the list, pick a folder from the Photos app that you want to use as a wallpaper repository. Shortcuts will use this folder to show you images you can set as your background picture. Leave the other options as they are.
Type Set Wallpaper in the right-hand search box and drag the resulting component underneath Find Photos on the canvas. This step tells your Mac to use the photo you chose as your computer’s desktop image.
Step 3: Take it for a spin
Click Shortcut Name at the top of the canvas window and give your shortcut a new title. Click the Icon to the left to change the shortcut’s icon and icon color.
Now, click the Play icon. A window will appear showing images in your defined wallpaper folder. Choose one and click Select. The first time this runs, you might have to allow the shortcut to run in a subsequent window; this time, click Always Allow.
And just like that, your wallpaper has been changed!
How to run a shortcut
The beauty of the Shortcuts app is there are so many ways to launch your creations. Let’s look at some of the most useful ones.
Inside the Shortcuts app
The simplest way to run your shortcuts is to do so from the Shortcuts home page. In the left-hand sidebar, click All Shortcuts under the My Shortcuts header. To run a shortcut from here, hover your mouse over it and click the Play icon that appears (or double-click it to edit its settings).
Shortcuts you have added to the quick-actions menu or the menu bar will appear in their own sections in this sidebar for easy access (more on these functions later).
Speak to Siri
Shortcuts’ greatest strength is its ability to make complicated, multi-step processes much easier to carry out. Siri is a great ally in this endeavor. Instead of delving through menus and settings to get to even the first step in your shortcut, just talk to Siri.
On your Mac, the trigger phrase is the shortcut’s name, so make it something descriptive. Click the Siri icon in your menu bar or say “Hey Siri,” followed by the shortcut name. For example, “Hey Siri, change my desktop image,” or, “Hey Siri, text last image.”
Use Quick Actions
Open a shortcut, then open the Settings menu in the top-right. Tick the Use as Quick Action checkbox. The Services Menu checkbox automatically gets ticked. Now open any app and click its name in the menu bar, then hover over the Services menu item. You will see the shortcut has appeared. This is a quick way to access shortcuts no matter which app is running.
Tick the Finder checkbox, and the shortcut will be added to the right-click menu. Whenever you right-click in Finder, you will find the shortcut under a section at the bottom of the menu titled Quick Actions.
Alternatively, press Command + Space to open Spotlight, then type the name of your shortcut, and press Return to launch it.
There are even more great features in the Shortcuts app. Here are some of our favorites.
Add a shortcut to the menu bar
A great option is to add your most-used shortcuts to your Mac’s menu bar. From the All Shortcuts page, double-click your chosen shortcut. In the top-right, click the Settings slider icon, then click Pin in Menu Bar. Click the Shortcuts menu bar icon, and you will now see your shortcut. You can add multiple shortcuts to this menu, giving you quick access to your favorites.
Use a keyboard shortcut
An even quicker way to trigger your shortcut is to give it a keyboard shortcut. From the Settings menu in the previous instruction, click Add Keyboard Shortcut. In the box that appears next to Run With, enter your preferred key combination.
Don’t worry, you cannot overwrite existing keyboard shortcuts. If you pick one that is already in use, nothing will be entered in the box. If the keyboard shortcut is available, its component keys will be shown in the box. Press Return, and it will be saved.
Note that this was a little buggy in the MacOS Monterey beta when we tested it. We expect Apple will tweak it as more updates are released.
Sync your shortcuts
Some shortcuts work just as well on your iPhone or Apple Watch as they do on a Mac. All your shared shortcuts will be synced to your other devices automatically, but there are ways you can make them a little more visible.
In the settings menu, tick the checkbox next to Show in Share Sheet on iOS. Now, whenever you click the Share button on your iPhone or iPad screen, the shortcut will appear.
Or, you can tick the checkbox next to Show on Apple Watch to place it on your Watch home screen. If the shortcut is not compatible, the Shortcuts app will give you a warning.
Last year’s update to Apple’s Mac operating system, MacOS Big Sur, was the largest and most significant refresh in years. This year’s iteration, dubbed MacOS Monterey by Apple’s “crack marketing team,” is more of a point-five update compared to 2020’s behemoth. That’s not to say it is a dull, pedestrian affair, but it is more refinement than revolution despite Apple opting for the MacOS 12 nomenclature rather than MacOS 11.1.
So, what can you expect when you get your hands on it in the fall (or right now if you signed up for the public beta)? Well, expect a lot of bugs for one thing. Apple released the public beta just a few days after only the second developer beta came out. That’s a quick turnaround, and it shows, with some features looking a little creaky right now.
But beyond that, is MacOS Monterey actually any good? And how do the new features work in practice? We took the new public beta for a spin to see what it had to offer.
A familiar design
MacOS Big Sur was a complete overhaul of the Mac operating system’s visual style, with new-look buttons, sidebars, menus, and much more. It was a huge improvement and helped bring MacOS kicking and screaming into the modern design era.
One of the largest visual revamps comes to Safari. Here, almost everything has been streamlined to fit Apple’s minimalist aesthetic, resulting in a stripped-down top bar that is a little confusing to navigate at first, although you do get used to it.
For starters, the URL bar and tab bar are now merged instead of being two separate rows sitting one above the other. If you have multiple tabs open, the active tab is now by far the longest. Click inside it, and you can start typing — this is where the search bar now hides. Websites in the active tab lend their colors to Safari’s entire top bar. It’s a nice touch of visual flair, and it seems pretty good at picking out an appropriate color.
If you’re like me and have an ever-expanding smorgasbord of tabs open at once, Safari’s Tab Groups come as something of a relief. It’s a feature already included in Google Chrome, but Apple’s take is slightly different. You can still group tabs together though and name each group to keep them organized. Opening a group shows only the tabs it contains, no others. Managing these groups is fiddly and confusing at the moment, and it’s very easy to accidentally delete a tab group or struggle to find the command you need. But it’s a start.
Well, unfortunately we cannot yet answer that question. At the time of writing, Universal Control had been absent from both the developer and public betas of MacOS Monterey. We will update this article as soon as Universal Control becomes available and we have a chance to test it, but for now we are going to have to hang tight on this one.
Another feature making its debut on the Mac in Monterey is AirPlay to Mac, but unlike Universal Control, this is actually available to test. Using your Mac as an AirPlay destination has been a long, long, long time coming, but now that it’s finally here, we can say the wait has been worth it.
AirPlay thrives on larger screens. Apple users have been able to send video to an Apple TV for years, using an iPhone or iPad as a remote, but the Mac has been strangely exempt. Now that it is enabled, you can enjoy content from your phone — like videos captured with an iPhone — on the big screen. It works just as AirPlay normally does: Open a video, tap Share, then the AirPlay button, then select your Mac as the output. It’s a small change to MacOS, but a significant one.
Notes also gets a dose of cross-system goodness, although this is focused more on collaboration than with making it work across your devices. You can now mention colleagues and see their edits in shared notes, and notes can be categorized with tags to aid organization. Small steps, but they add up.
As well as that, the Quick Note feature that Apple showed off on iPadOS 15 also comes to MacOS Monterey. You can select any image or text on a web page, for instance, right-click it, and add it to a Quick Note. Next time you’re on the web page, a tiny thumbnail of the Quick Note appears in the bottom-right of your screen, letting you see whatever you noted down before.
My favorite thing about Quick Note is its integration with Hot Corners. These are shortcuts that can be triggered by moving your mouse pointer to one corner of your screen. I set the bottom-right Hot Corner to launch Quick Note, and now creating a new note is just a short swipe away. As great as that is, though, like many of the new features in Monterey, it’s useful without being earth-shaking.
Here’s an example. Apple has always promoted the interconnectedness of its ecosystem, and it’s trying to do so again in MacOS Monterey with things like Shared With You. This highlights items that have been sent to you in Messages and then surfaces them in relevant apps. For instance, news stories sent to you via Messages will appear in the News app.
At least, that’s the theory. When we tried it, many apps did not have functioning Shared With You sections — not that we could find, anyway. The News app has a dedicated Shared With You area in the sidebar, but in apps like Photos and Podcasts it is nowhere to be found.
When it does work, Shared With You is a handy way of collating everything that has come your way, similar to how Messages gathers together all the photos, links, and files from your contacts. Shared With You is a little more basic because each app it works in only collects files that it can play or open rather than everything. But as with Quick Note, it is a welcome, if minor, addition to MacOS.
The other major sharing update in Monterey is SharePlay. The idea behind this is that you can share your screen (or the content you are watching on your screen) with other people during a FaceTime call. In a pandemic world where being together is difficult, it is not hard to see Apple’s motivation. This is one of the few features that has been newly added to the public beta, so we’ll update this post once we’ve had more time with the latest version.
It’s not the only new tool in FaceTime. You can now add a Portrait Mode filter to blur the background, although the quality depends on your camera, and it’s a little hit and miss around the edges of your outline.
As with so much else in this beta, though, lots of things aren’t quite ready. You can send invite links for FaceTime calls (finally!), but joining a call displays everyone in a square, and you can’t change your own camera to be landscape or portrait. In a call made without a link, it’s the opposite, and the grid view doesn’t work. Microphone modes like Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum aren’t available at all.
Mapping the future
Shortcuts is one of the most powerful native apps on iOS, as it lets you create automated sets of actions that perform complex tasks with a simple trigger. Now, it’s on the Mac, and it’s actually better suited to this platform than the iPhone.
That’s because, like on the iPad, the Mac version has a right-hand sidebar that lets you drag and drop actions into place, creating a visual flowchart that is simple to follow. For many people, the Mac is also where they are likely to perform the most complex tasks, making Shortcuts on MacOS a powerful addition to their arsenal, if one that is also long overdue.
And if everything gets a bit too overwhelming, there’s a new tool called Focus that aims to cut out the barrage of notifications and distractions by only allowing certain people or apps to buzz you. What is interesting is that it allows you to set different Focus modes, each with different rules for different scenarios. For instance, Focus loads up with Do Not Disturb, Driving, and Sleep modes. The latter integrates with the sleep schedule you set in the iOS Health app, for example.
Adding your own is simple. The Automation section is where you set how the Focus mode is activated: At a set time or when you arrive at a specific location. So, you could set a location-based automation that activates when you arrive at the gym, letting you concentrate on pumping iron without distraction. There’s also an app-based automation, but it’s not clear if this refers to apps that will trigger Focus mode or apps that are allowed through. We’d bet on the former seeing as blocked apps are already covered in Apple’s Screen Time tool, but Apple has not made it very clear.
As with so much in the MacOS Monterey beta, there is a lot of potential in something like Focus, but it’s not quite ready for prime time. We will keep testing everything in the MacOS Monterey public beta and will add to this article as Apple updates the beta going forward.
If you own a Mac with an M1 chip inside, then the MacOS Monterey update might have just added value to your machine with some unique features that you won’t be able to find on Intel-based Macs. That is according to Apple’s website, which has some bullet points noting the M1 exclusivity of some new goodies of the operating system.
There are a couple of these features you’ll need to know about, many of which were actually detailed during Apple’s WWDC keynote — without the important note of not being available on Intel-based Macs. The first relates to FaceTime, which got a number of new features in Monterey. Portrait mode will blur the background behind you and won’t be available on Intel-based Macs. Portrait Mode is also a new API that will allow other applications such as Zoom or Teams to implement the same effect. Regardless of the application, Intel-based Macs won’t support the feature.
Another big feature from Monterey is Live Text. This feature lets you pull text and phone numbers from photos, but it only will work on M1 Macs.
Elsewhere, there are two more features in Apple Maps that are exclusive to M1 Macs. You won’t be able to use the new globe view option or see the expanded details in cities like New York or Los Angeles. Offline, on-device dictation, on-device dictation without a time limit, and neural text-to-speech voices in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish also cap out the list of M1-exclusive features.
These specialized features won’t work on Intel Macs for a very specific reason. It is because all need to depend on the neural engine of the M1 chip. The processing behind the feature happens on device, too, according to Apple. This is not something that is possible with the chipsets in Intel-based Macs.
But don’t be too worried. The biggest of the MacOS Monterey features still work on Intel-based Macs. SharePlay, which lets you listen to music together with friends and family in FaceTime, still works. AirPlay to Mac still works, too, allowing you to stream what is on your iPhone to any compatible Mac on Apple’s list.
Select Intel-based Macs even support Universal Control, allowing you to control your iPad or other Mac devices with a single keyboard and mouse. Finally, all Macs that get Monterey will see the updated Safari web browser, updates to the Notes experience (and QuickNote), new iMessage features, and more.
Apple had promised that it would continue to release MacOS updates for Intel-based Macs. However, the M1-exclusivity of some of these MacOS Monterey features hints that there could be a similar set of elements in future releases that won’t be coming to Intel-based Macs in the future.
Apple has just confirmed that MacOS Monterey, set to release later this year, will support Adaptive Sync on external displays. It wasn’t mentioned during the keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference this week, but it was during a WWDC developer session. MacOS Monterey is the latest version of the MacOS, and it will soon be available on MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Minis. Adaptive Sync will allow a lot of these newer Macs to support variable screen refresh rates, possibly making them more viable for gamers.
Not all Macs are going to receive Adaptive Sync support, but a lot of them will. The technology will work on all devices with Apple Silicon inside, including newer models with M1 chips, as well as some of the more recent Intel-based Macs. Another requirement is access to DisplayPort 1.2a connectivity. The use of DisplayPort 1.2a is not a coincidence, as this technology is also used by both Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync.
Apple claims that enabling the feature will be easy to do. After connecting a compatible Adaptive Sync display to a Mac that supports it, all users will have to do is pick the variable refresh rate option in System Preferences > Displays.
Adaptive Sync is a technology that eliminates screen tearing, stuttering, and input lag. It synchronizes the display refresh rate with the frames per second (fps) provided by the graphics card. The result is usually a smoother gaming experience as the screen adapts to what is currently happening in the game. Macs are not typically the first choice when it comes to the best desktops for gaming, as they are often favored by content creators and creatives. The addition of Adaptive Sync suggests that Apple might be looking to open up its range to a whole new customer base.
The arrival of Adaptive Sync to MacOS Monterey is something many enthusiasts have been hoping for. This tech has been readily available to Windows users for a few years now, so not having it on Macs was slowly becoming a glaring oversight. The only option to change that was to connect an external display with a higher refresh rate, but that was an unofficial workaround. Apple has never explicitly addressed support for higher refresh rates in its documentation, but reports indicate that it is possible.
Although Adaptive Sync is only launching on MacOS later this year, the tech was already present in other Apple products. Both the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch second-generation iPad Pro support Apple’s ProMotion Display feature. This allows these tablets to benefit from screen refresh rates of up to 120Hz. However, ProMotion Display was never implemented in any of Apple’s Mac desktops or laptops. The arrival of Adaptive Sync support could hint that Apple has plans to eventually bring these higher refresh rate displays to Macs in the future.
MacOS Monterey is currently in the beta stage and is only available to developers. Apple plans to open public beta testing in July, allowing some users to begin using Adaptive Sync ahead of time. If everything goes according to schedule, MacOS Monterey should be released on all compatible devices in the fall.